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  • Place of origin:

    Azerbaijan (made)

  • Date:

    1600-1799 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Woollen pile, on woollen warp and weft; symmetrical knot; 44-54 knots per sq. in (704-864 per sq. dm)

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Two large, angular lattices which have been superimposed, form diamond- and irregularly shaped compartments, some of which contain floral motifs while others contain a stylized dragon in combat with a phoenix. Carpets with this combination of lattice and dragons are usually known as 'Dragon Carpets'.

Physical description

Carpet, Dragon Carpet, Caucasian, 17th or 18th century.

WARP: white wool; Z2S; 8-9 threads per inch (32-26 per dm).

WEFT: light red wool; Z2S; 2 shoots after each row of knots; 11-12 knots per inch (44-48 per dm).

PILE: wool; 9 colours: red, yellow, green, blue, dark blue, very dark blue, purple, dark brown, white; symmetrical knot tied around two threads; 44-54 per sq.inch (704-864 per sq.dm)


DESIGN: Field: red ground with a generous lattice in broad, jagged blue and white horizontal zigzags. The zigzags are decorated with a central stem bearing buds and with swollen yellow and dark blue S-motifs and with paired stylized cloud bands (in two colours). The lattice forms 3 and 2 half rows of diamonds and large'waisted; diamond. The diamonds contain large jagged yellow diamonds, each with a central hexagon enclosing a blossom. a large palmette, more omplex in design, links the zigzags. In the 4 larger spaces there are pairs of floral animals in combat (or could it be one animal, not in combat?). The animals are not a mirror image (everything else appears to be). The animals face the same way horizontally and reverse vertically.

Border: missing at the top and incomplete at the bottom. white ground with curved S-motifs alternately barred with angular S-motifs or with 2 lines abutting at right angles.

Place of Origin

Azerbaijan (made)


1600-1799 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Woollen pile, on woollen warp and weft; symmetrical knot; 44-54 knots per sq. in (704-864 per sq. dm)


Length: 212 cm maximum, Length: 209 cm minimum, Width: 184 cm maximum

Descriptive line

Carpet; Carpet of 'dragon' design from Shirvan or Karabagh (Caucasus), 18th century.; 1700s, Caucasian; Dragon

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Michael Franses and Robert Pinner (introduction by Donald King) "Caucasian Rugs in the Victoria and Albert Museum", HALI pp.95-115: fig.2.
Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Textiles, Brief Guide to the Persian Embroideries (London: Board of Education, 1929) pl.III.

Labels and date

THIS DRAGON CARPET and the one displayed to the right are both 17th century pieces from the southern Caucasus - from Shirvan and Karabagh. They used the principle of a lattice structure as the basis of their designs, as did Persian designers of the same period (see the two Vase carpets displayed on the far right). In contrast to the flowing curves easily created with the fine asymmetrical knot of southern Persia, the bulkier symmetrical knot of the Caucasus resulted in bolder, angular and more dominant lines. [Used until 11/2003]

Production Note


Referred to in:
Handwoven Carpets: Oriental & European by A F Kendrick and C E C Tattersall, pub. Benn Brothers Ltd., London 1922. P. 8, 13, Pl. 5

Early Caucasian Carpets in Turkey, Vol. II by Serare Yetkin, pub. Oguz Press 1978, p. 28, illus. 145.

Mentioned and illustrated in "Caucasian Rugs in the V & A", by M. Franses and R. Pinner (intro. by Donald King). Hali 1980, Vol. 3, No. 2, p. 95, 96, 97, 98, 114.

c.f. McMullan (1972) Plate XII "Caucasian, so-called 'dragon rugs.. no existing piece is earlier than the 17th c. except for the Berlin 'Graf'…. Design highly reminiscent of the Scythian animal style". NB the 'para' lattice with the yellow zigzag but with the red more often as a leaf bracket; and the flowing border. Also:-

"Caucasian.. produced in the same area" pl. XIV. NB. Colours: 3 blues, 2 purples.

Erdmann (1976/1955) illus. 97 and 98
"Caucasus with twofold lattice design ("dragon carpet") 16th c., and for 98 the same description, 17th. NB. interlocked 'cloudbands' in the former and their possible evolution in the latter. Illus. 98 also shows the possibility of minor borders - and with an 'S' motif, though simplified.

Yetkin, Vol. II (1978) illus. 122 (p. 13) NB. dark brown ground, 'pine cone' motif and interlocking 'cloudband' on leaves. Also c.f. the border. Also:-

Illus 118, "Dragon carpet (Graf).. found in Damascus. NB: 'pinecones' interlocking floral motif on lower leaves, border. Also:-

Illus 139, "Dragon carpet (Sharples).. one can see the unwinding of the lozenge design". NB decorated 'S' border. Also:-

Illus. 127 "Dragon carpet (Hewett Myers) dated 1110 (or 1101) A.H… not very faithful copy". Nb: emphasis on the lattice and the decorated 'S' border.




Weaving; Knotting

Subjects depicted

Lattice; Dragons; Stylized flowers; Geometric patterns; Phoenix


Textiles; Floor coverings


Middle East Section

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